Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: People's Republic of Berkeley
A great read!
This past August I ran into Tom Pero and the Sheppards on the Dean and they waxed enthusiastically about the new book and its pending release. I debated whether I wanted to spend $150 for a book by an author I'd never heard of, particularly whereas I felt Coombs and Hogan had covered the subject eloquently and thoroughly in their works. But I took the plunge.
Over the course of several evenings I read the book cover-to-cover, never glancing over pages or finding my attention wandering. The organization of the book, I believe, aided in maintaining my interest and concentration. There was never too much Gallagher or overly long or redundant interviews. I would invariably find my interest refreshed and ready for the change precisely when it occurred. This was the good editing.
And then there's the not-so-good editing; or at least the careless proof-reading. While this problem was hardly fateful to my enjoyment of the book, it did become a metaphorical horsefly that always had me waiting for its inevitable return. Did it bite hard? No, but it did break my concentration occasionally as it flew around again. If this book goes into a second printing, and it should, I hope someone goes back through carefully and smacks that sucker dead.
Having met a few of the characters in the book (Soverel, Adams, Clegg and the Tavenders) and having fished some of the rivers added to the richness of my reading, but this is certainly a book for anyone interested in these magnificent creatures and their habitat - regardless of the extent of their experience or wanderings. The opening chapter by MacMillan, while not as poignant as Dec Hogan's plight of a particular steelhead, seems a bit more comprehensive and enlightening (dare I say scientific) than that in the first pages of "A Passion for Steelhead." And while the book is hardly a technical manual or 'how to' guide for beginning steelheaders, there are plenty of thoughtful and useful gems tucked away in these pages that could enhance one's pursuit of our quarry.
I was also moved by the chapter entitled "The Problem Is, You're Here..." The whole crowding issue is emotional and very real for me, as it is for many fellow anglers. This past summer I moved up a week in August on my visit to the Dean. I was really looking forward to my return to the river, and while I'd heard the stories beforehand about the poor return and the potential causes of same, I was shocked and unprepared for the crowding below Five Mile. Each day more and more campers would arrive and park on runs that had been sparsely populated, if at all, the previous summer. Conga lines were the name of the game and tempers were on the edge at times. I was so disappointed in the one-two punch of too many fishing boats in the Channel and the numerous rods on the river, I vowed to rethink my future angling on the Dean.
Well, enough sobbing about my own experience on the river. The book is superb and the anecdotes and tales from the sport's legends revealing and insightful. I do hope that at some point there will be a less expensive version of this book (paperback?) for those who can't afford the $150. I understand that Wild River Press is not a huge operation with economies of scale, but this book deserves to be read by a wide audience.
And I certainly know who Sean Gallagher is now.
Last edited by sisyphusmpn; 01-14-2014 at 04:11 PM.